Roger Federer cruised into the French Open second round Monday and then hit out at the decision by Roland Garros organizers to introduce new balls at the tournament.
Throughout the European clay-court swing, Dunlop balls were used but the second Grand Slam event of the season has instead opted for Babolat, which generally move faster through the air, as part of a new deal with manufacturers.
"I’m hearing a lot of conversations about the balls. It’s just that they’re not the same from what we’ve just played with for the last month," said Federer.
"And that for us is the most frustrating part, that the tournaments all changed to the Roland Garros ball after last year, [but] Roland Garros has changed their balls again. Now we’re stuck with a different deal for all the different ATP Tour events. That is the frustrating part that we need to adjust before the French."
The new ball has also caused concern among the women players at the French Open, who fear for their physical well-being.
"A lot of the girls are coming in with shoulder issues. They say the balls are pretty hard," said Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the leading US player in Paris.
Novak Djokovic, the world number two and one of the favorites to topple Rafael Nadal as French Open champion, believes the big servers could benefit from the changes.
"The balls are very, very fast, so it’s really difficult to control. Maybe it’s going to favor the servers and the big hitters," said the Serb.
Federer had few problems with either the Babolat ball or first round opponent Feliciano Lopez on Monday as he clinched a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) win.